The Iranian Parliament will cooperate with the government in the process of signing a long-term strategic cooperation agreement with China within a framework where the right of national sovereignty and the country’s interests are protected, said a senior MP.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Ali Nikzad, a deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament, added the Parliament and government are required to cooperate to be able to move ahead with the country’s economic plans.
Based on Article 77 of the Constitution, the MP noted, after going through the preliminary stages, the Iranian and Chinese governments must, first, conclude an agreement and, then, hand it over to the Parliament in the form of a contract for discussion and final approval.
Article 77 states that treaties, transactions, contracts and all international agreements must be approved by the Parliament.
Nikzad added that after being discussed in the Parliament, the 25-year strategic partnership deal with China would be approved if it proves capable of serving the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In January 2016, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Beijing signed an official joint statement, in which one of the clauses pertained to the two countries’ strong determination to expand cooperation within the framework of a 25-year comprehensive strategic cooperation plan. Following that, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed the need for such cooperation when receiving the Chinese president at a meeting in Tehran.
Since a year ago, the two countries have started serious negotiations to sign the agreement and have exchanged a few drafts of the final deal. On June 23, the final draft of the agreement was eventually approved in a meeting of the Iranian cabinet. The preliminary document and draft of the contract were handed over to the Chinese side during a visit by Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif to Beijing in the latter days of 2019.
Among the fields mentioned in the contract’s draft for cooperation between the two countries are investments in Iranian infrastructure as well as oil, gas and petrochemical industries and culture and security.
Nikzad said nothing special has happened yet in terms of signing the contract, stressing that if the deal is finalized, its different aspects would be discussed by related experts in the Parliament.
He gave the assurance that the country’s legislative branch will devote sufficient time to studying each and every clause of the contract.
Expressing sorrow at Beirut’s August 4 deadly blast, the lawmaker said this was a tragedy.
The tragic explosion caused by the detonation of more than 2,000 tons of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse has so far killed more than 200 citizens and injured over 6,000 others.
He noted, “We are very sorry about the occurrence of the sad event and will, as part of our humanitarian and Islamic responsibilities, assist Lebanon by as much as we can, as, on other occasions, the Lebanese have helped Iran to their utmost abilities.”
On speculations about the causes of the catastrophic event, Nikzad said a special group in Lebanon has been tasked with the mission to investigate the incident.
“We should wait until the group announces the final result of its investigations.”
Nevertheless, he said, no matter what has caused the incident, Iran does not approve of it and will condemn it.
Calling for greater cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of government, the MP noted that greater interaction with the government is the basis for the Parliament in its efforts toward resolving the country’s livelihood and economic problems.
Following the establishment of the 11th Parliament’s committees, the presiding board decided to prioritize solving people’s economic and livelihood problems, Nikzad said.
He added the Iranian Parliament has placed greater focus on resolving people’s economic, livelihood and cultural problems following an emphasis by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the same issues.
“The Parliament has reached agreements with the country’s ministers on how to address these problems in a number of meetings.”
He expressed hope that the three branches of government would manage to achieve the target they pursue and resolve people’s economic and livelihood problems.
The MP said this is quite achievable as, through greater sympathy among the officials, the growing trend in foreign currency rates against that of the rial in the domestic market was halted and became downward, the MP said.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran. Mainly targeting Iran’s foreign trade, such as oil exports and banking relations, the sanctions led to the start of an increasing trend in foreign currency rates against that of the rial in the Iranian market.
Since a few weeks ago, however, the trend has become downward thanks to a number of measures implemented by the Iranian governmnet.
Nikzad said people should know that the Parliament and government are, hand-in-hand, making efforts to solve the country’s problems in all sectors.